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Property Market Research Series: South Island Sheep and Beef

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pastoral farm New Zealand

Demand for sheep and beef properties has been steady despite the global economic and geopolitical uncertainty. 

The prices paid for sheep and beef properties across Canterbury and Southland have risen over the past 12-18 months due to continued strong returns, combined with farmers' intentions to purchase before interest rates hikes that are expected by the end of 2022.

We consider the underlying market for traditional sheep and beef breeding and finishing units is now positive on the back of strong fundamentals.

Pastoral farm returns

Pastoral farmers are currently benefitting from a period of above-average returns for lamb and beef over a prolonged period.


Lamb prices remained high this season due to reduced competition from Australian lamb, along with increased demand for higher-end cuts as the international restaurant trade bounces back. Favourable growing conditions were experienced throughout most of the country, except for Southland, which was impacted by summer drought.

While capacity at the meat processors remains tight, higher prices on offer reflect the international demand for lamb rather than competition between processors to secure supply.

Like lamb, beef returns were also strong. While exports to the United States faced increased competition from Brazilian beef, demand from China kept prices high, despite their Covid-19 enforced lockdowns.

Venison prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels, a result of increased patronage in European restaurants. Venison prices will however need to appreciate further to gain parity with lamb and beef returns.

Prices for mid to stronger grade wool remain at low levels, with many farmers now viewing wool as a cost-recovery exercise to offset the expense of shearing.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to continue with upward adjustments to the OCR as it tries to control inflation. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is adding to market uncertainty and at a farm level in New Zealand, the conflict is resulting in higher fuel and fertiliser input costs.

The labour market remains tight, with farmers seeking to retain experienced staff by increasing salaries. Similarly, labour challenges in associated shearing and meat processing industries are also impacting  day-to-day farming operations.

South Island pastoral land market

While interest rates and on-farm inflation are increasing, strong farming returns are resulting in good levels of profitability. Competition from grain-fed meat is expected to decrease as the Ukrainian conflict impacts the global grain trade.

Growth in the New Zealand housing market has peaked, which should lead to an increased willingness from banks to extend credit to the agricultural sector, particularly on the back of strong returns.

While foreign direct investment is still restricted due to the requirements of the Overseas Investment Office, we are now seeing larger-scale properties transact at levels that indicate an increased pool of eligible New Zealand-based buyers.

Renewed interest in forestry has prompted diversification of traditional pastoral-based farming systems with plantation forests being established on less productive land. In the current market, there is significant demand for timber with some of the highest sustained prices being achieved for many years.

There is strong interest in traditional breeding country areas across New Zealand, which is providing a backstop for land values, particularly for steeper and marginal land.

Most sales involve traditional pastoral farmers. Decisions are often influenced by considerations around farming systems, risk mitigation and exploring synergies between arable, pastoral, dairy, and forestry farming classes.


More rural property market research

Canterbury Dairy Market Update  | December 2021
Kiwifruit Property Market Report | December 2021

Central Otago Viticulture Property Market Update | November 2021
Canterbury Dairy support and arable land market  | September 2021    
Southland Dairy Property Market Update | August 2021   

New Zealand Forestry Market Update| August 2021

Kiwifruit market update | May 2021
North Canterbury Sheep and Beef Property Sales Map  |  May 2021     
Canterbury Dairy Property Market Update | April 2021     
Southland Dairy Property Market Update |  March 2021   
Marlborough Viticulture Market Update | February 2021

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Property Market Research Series: South Island Sheep and Beef

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Related Experts

Luke van den Broek

Associate Director | Rural Valuation

Christchurch (Rural Valuation)

With over 13 years’ experience in providing valuation and advisory services throughout New Zealand, his expertise covers rural land valuation and advisory matters throughout Canterbury and the South Island with emphasis on valuations for bank lending, financial reporting and insurance.

With broad property knowledge, excellent technical skills, a personable nature and industry understanding, he is well positioned to provide valuations and advice, specialising in dairy, arable, pastoral and intensive farming operations.

His specialist knowledge coupled with attention to detail and his drive for excellence, and continuous professional development, mean he is a valuable and trusted advisor to his clients.

Luke van den Broek,  MBA | BBS (VPM & Agribusiness)
Registered Valuer

View expert

Jeremy Ryan

Valuer | Rural Valuation

Christchurch (Rural Valuation)

Jeremy grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Mossburn, in Northern Southland and has been part of the farming industry his entire life. 

He completed a Bachelors of Land and Property Management at Lincoln University, majoring in Rural Valuation with a specialisation in Primary Production.

In 2021 for his last year of studies, Jeremy was awarded the Colliers Rural Valuation Scholarship. In December the same year he started a two-month summer internship with the Colliers Rural Valuation team in Invercargill.

Jeremy has been based with the Christchurch team since February 2022 and is currently working toward his registration.  His areas of interest in rural property include dairy, pastoral and specialized livestock properties. 

He is currently concentrating on rural property valuations for dairy, poultry, sheep and beef farms for the purposes of mortgage security, rental assessments and financial reporting for private and corporate clients primarily in Southland, Otago and Canterbury.

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